Heart to Table: Sharing Thanks
Whole turkeys. Cranberry sauce. Pumpkin pie. Yams. Stuffing. Canned veggies. Fresh kale. Gravy. Bread. Sauerkraut. Pasta. Tuna?
Think you can stuff all this in one basket? More than a few volunteers think they can. And they will, as non-profits stock Thanksgiving smorgasbords and care packages for neighbors in need. Whether you can help or need help, here are some opportunities:
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WeCare & Friends volunteers take a break at the 1997 dinner (L-R): Joan Kaplan, Louise Hammond, James R. Turner, Larry Griffin, Zastrow Simms, Mel Reynolds and Randy Rowel.
We Care & Friends annual Thanksgiving dinner at Annapolis Stanton Community Center will feed a few thousand hungry neighbors from 3pm to 10pm on Monday, November 19. Last year, some 3,600 people ate their fill of the hearty meal, which is donated by local restaurants and businesses. Local musicians complement the dinner with live entertainment.
You need only show up at the door to be served. The dinner still needs servers, ushers and greeters plus water, juices, sodas and desserts; call ahead to help out as a volunteer. For information, call Larry or Rachel Griffin at 410/295-5223.
As always, volunteers will be baking up fresh, hot pies for Annapolis Naval Station active-duty sailors and marines who are unable to take leave for the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year, some 30 to 50 sailors and marines were handed pies.
Its a little more complicated this year, says Robert Klebahn of the Fleet and Family Service Center. Tighter security means only Department of Defense card holders will be allowed to deliver pies to the base. Instead, Klebahn suggests, the general public can help out by donating to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, which benefits those servicemen and their families in need of financial assistance. For info, call the Fleet and Family Service Center: 410/293-2641.
Annapolis Salvation Army has already wrapped up its Thanksgiving aid program, which will provide cook-at-home meals for some 200 families in need. Theres still time to ask for aid in time for Christmas; requests for meals or gifts must be made by the end of November. If youre looking to volunteer, the food pantry, open 1-4pm M-F, is in constant need of donations. For info, call 410/263-4091.
Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake offers both dinner and job-hunting workshops at its 12th annual Thanksgiving Dinner, served noon-3 Wednesday, November 21, at Asbury United Methodist Church in Annapolis. Hundreds will be gifted with a full turkey dinner prepared and served by local volunteers; local florists have donated centerpiece arrangements for a splash of color. Call for delivery or a ride in. For info, call Goodwill at 410/837-1800 or Asbury UMC at 410/268-9500.
Anne Arundel Food Bank, in Crownsville, is not putting together any packages or dinners of its own, but it does use its food supply to fill the holes in local pantry food chains. The food bank also accepts donations of clothes, furniture, appliances and cars, all of which it gives away for free. Which means they could also use cash donations to pay their expenses. For info, call Bruce Michalec at 410/923-4255.
In South County, community churches are banding together to fill food baskets for area families. St. James Parish is the busiest of all, stocking the tables of 50 area families on a first-come-first-served basis. Any families one church cant feed will be referred to another that can including Franklin (Churchton), Centenary (Shady Side), Cedar Grove (Deale) and Grace (Mayo) churches.
|photo by Mark Burns
St. James Parishs holiday food baskets program chair and South County Assistance Network board member Linda Dennis has emptied shelves packing food baskets for needy families.
Some churches have had fewer calls for assistance this year; Cedar Grove now has six requests, as does Grace. St. James, on the other hand, has already signed on 49 families.
The calls have just grown, says St. James food basket coordinator Linda Dennis.
St. James is also home to the South County Assistance Network food pantry. The network, a four-year-old collaboration of area churches, is always accepting donations of food and winter clothes, which can be dropped off daily at the door. For more information, call Linda Dennis at 410/867-3566.
Lusbys smile, (Service Makes Individuals Lives Exciting) Inc., is a coalition of nine Southern Maryland churches reaching out to people in need. In Solomons, smile partners up with Lighthouse Inn Restaurant to serve their 11th annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner November 22, from noon-3:30. Lighthouse Inns Jennifer Jordan expects to feed as many as 600 people. To be served a dinner, just show up; if you need a lift or home delivery, call by November 20 to make arrangements. This dinner already has an overabundance of volunteer help. For more info, call the restaurant at 410/326-2444.
Another smile dinner and food basket deliveries are being planned for Christmas, with the date and times to be announced. The dinner will be served at American Legion Post 274 in Lusby. Drop in to dine or call ahead to volunteer: 410/326-0009.
North Countys Christian Assistance Program a network of 11 churches in Odenton, Severn and Gambrills gives each of 200 families a turkey plus all the fixings in its annual holiday food basket delivery. Needy families are matched through Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services Holiday Sharing program and are delivered basketed feasts the evening of November 20. Volunteers will be put to work assembling the baskets that day. Food pantry and clothing donations are collected at two member churches year-round. For information, call 410/551-9238.
Owens: My Perspective Has Changed
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Looking toward next Novembers election, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens asks voters for four more years.
Speaking from his front steps on a warm Friday evening, marina owner Steuart Chaney introduced his special guest to people who had arrived to his idyllic Lothian farm with checkbooks in hand.
She was an honest person. She wanted to do the right thing. And she won, Chaney said, recalling the election of 1998.
I can tell you I am still honest, joked Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, the subject of attention on this night, when Chaney handed her the microphone.
Owens, a Democrat, was on hand for the Chaney-sponsored fund-raiser to take home some of the wherewithal that she will need to run for a second term, which she has announced that she will do.
Owens may still be honest. But she is admittedly different in other ways, having been singed in rancorous development squabbles in her county, then tested by the defining hours of September 11.
By most accounts, she mishandled the uprising in Southern Anne Arundel during Safeways long, contentious and ultimately losing battle to build a shopping center at a sleepy crossroads in Deale. Trying to steer what she considered a middle course by promoting less construction, Owens ended up alienating some of her core group of supporters before the project was killed in the Legislature by fellow Democrats.
It sure has been hard dealing with land-use, she said in a brief speech to funders, which included a contingent of developers. Land use is, and will undoubtedly be for the next 20 years, the biggest issue facing this county.
Another issue that surfaced dramatically with the terrorist attacks is Anne Arundels role in national security. The county is home to both the National Security Agency and Fort Meade, and within hours of the September 11 attacks, Owens was receiving briefings about security.
The attacks served to draw distinctions in the county Owens governs: between populous northern Anne Arundel, a link to the world with its government facilities and Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and southern Anne Arundel, a separate culture content not to answer when the world raps at the door.
My whole perspective has changed, she remarked in a brief interview, referring to the recent tumultuous times.
Owens is aware that she needs to perform a balancing act as she runs for re-election next year. Her campaign is certain to be tough, given the number of supporters she has alienated with her land-use decisions. But she has time on her side and can take comfort in knowing that as of yet, no prominent Republican has surfaced to challenge her.
Even before her campaign begins, Owens must govern her complex world without benefit of ample revenues now that the economy is lagging. Resources are getting harder and harder to come by, even with 9-11, she said. Challenges facing us in the future are pretty daunting.
Like many gathered on this Indian summer evening in rural solitude, Owens seemed to long for less daunting times.
When you come to Steuart and Dotty Chaneys beautiful house and fields, you ask, how can there be war? she said. Im going to run, and when Im done, Im going to come and live in Lothian.
Worried about Bioterror? AACo Offers Answers
Its a sign of strange times that knowing how to protect yourself from infectious mail is becoming as familiar as stop, drop and roll for putting out a fire on your person.
There may be no catch-phrase lesson for keeping spores away, but the information is out there. To help disperse such helpful knowledge, on October 19 Anne Arundel County Department of Health turned its communicable disease line into the bioterrorism information hotline.
In the first several weeks when the concerns about anthrax were at their peak, we received about 100 calls per day, says Evelyn Stein, spokeswoman for the Department of Health.
Callers concerns ranged widely, including whether they were at risk, what they should do if they were to come in contact with infected mail, what vaccines and antibiotics were available and whether their symptoms suggested anthrax.
A big number of calls came in from medical providers in the area seeing flu-like symptoms, says Dr. Sohail Qarni, medical consultant for the department and hotline expert. They werent quite sure whether it was anthrax. A few callers, perhaps a percent, were more concerned with smallpox.
No single answer has been prepared for callers. We dont have a recorded message, says Qarni.
But some safety tips are pretty generic. If you find a suspicious letter or package, such as one with a return address not matching the cancellation stamp, dont open it. Call 911 to have it investigated. If its been opened, bag it, seal it and wash your hands.
Washing your hands is a good precaution after handling and opening any mail these days.
Qarni hopes people will call in to resolve their concerns and questions, he said.
The flood of calls has subsided as answers are provided and no new incidents of anthtrax appear. In the past 10 days, the hotline has answered a trickle of six to 10 queries per day. Even so, the hotline will stay open indefinitely.
Reach the Department of Health hotline at 410/222-7256. You can also find answers to some of your questions online: Anne Arundel County Department of Health: www.aahealth.org; Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: www.dhmh.state.md.us; and the Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov.
In California, anti-logging protesters laid bare the practice of clear-cutting last week. Nine women stopped logging near Eureka when they stripped to their waists in a protest. These gorgeous women were belly dancing, said their leader, known for staging Strip Tease for Trees demonstrations
In Washington, the Sierra Club has advice for dealing with post-September 11 stress: visit a special place a recreational spot where you can decompress. They have some suggestions for you at www.sierraclub.org/specialplace
In Paris, environmentalists are condemning a new ad campaign in which supermodel Laetitia Casta is reclining in a giant bowl of caviar. The Robin Hood organization says the ads encourage consumption of caviar at a time when sturgeon the fish that produce the eggs need to be protected
In China, workers are working on something big something you may want to put on your Must-Do list for future travel. Theyre building a 714-mile rail line to Tibet, which will be the highest train trip in the world once its completed in about six years
Our Creature Feature from New Zealand, where authorities are irked by an invader from California. After finding another black widow spider on California grapes, New Zealand suspended arriving shipments until they investigate whether the poisonous arachnids pose a supermarket threat.
The New Zealanders have another worry: They dont want the black widows taking up residence and breeding in their isolated land. If youre averse to creepy-crawlers, you might like to know that New Zealand has virtually no poisonous insects and no poisonous snakes.